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Cruises to Cologne

Cologne (Photo:S.Borisov/Shutterstock)

About Cologne

Cologne, the Rhineland's largest city and Germany's fourth-largest, dates back to 38 B.C., when the Romans first started to settle in the area. By 50 A.D., "Colonia" was a major city, which would later become one of the most important trade and production centers in the Roman Empire. Significant Roman ruins can still be found in Cologne today, especially near the city's wharf area, in addition to 12 Romanesque churches.

Cologne's location on the river Rhine placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes between east and west, which was the basis for its continued growth through the Middle Ages. Construction of the famous Kolner Dom, the city's Gothic cathedral, started in 1248, consolidating its position as a place of great religious significance, as well as a trade hub (despite the fact that work stopped on the cathedral in 1473, leaving it unfinished until the 19th century).

Today, Cologne is the cultural heart of the Rhineland, with a vibrant arts scene, celebrated opera house, more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. The city has spread to both sides of the Rhine River, with the cathedral and Altstadt (Old Town) both located on the left bank. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and became a poignant symbol of the city's survival of the Allied aerial bombing during World War II. While some 95 percent of the city center was destroyed during the war, much of its medieval heart and churches were rebuilt according to original plans. Because of this, Cologne retains an authentic feel, with attractive open squares, pretty beer gardens and cozy wine taverns lining narrow, cobbled streets and the attractive riverfront.

Cologne is celebrated for its locally brewed beer, called Kolsch, with about 30 traditional brewing houses creating their own versions and selling them on-site in lively beer gardens and cellars. (Kolsch is also the name for the local dialect, resulting in the joke that Kolsch is the only language one can drink.) Considerable quantities of Kolsch are consumed each November, when carnival season transforms the city into one of Europe's biggest street festivals, with the numerous bars and pubs on Neumarkt square, Heumarkt and Zulpicher Strasse packed with people in costumes, dancing and drinking.

Whether you visit Cologne during the summer to make the most of the beer gardens and pretty landscaped riverbanks or during winter for the raucous Carnival or magical Christmas markets, you'll discover an intriguing, cosmopolitan city with bags of character. Furthermore, Cologne has a compact heart, which is easily navigated on foot, making it the perfect destination to explore from a cruise ship.


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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Amsterdam, Cologne ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Avalon Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Avalon Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Amsterdam
    • Day 2
      Amsterdam
    • Day 3
      Cologne
    • Day 4
      Koblenz
    • Day 5
      Mainz
    • Day 6
      Strasbourg
    • Day 7
      Breisach
    • Day 8
      Basel
    Ship Details

    Avalon Expression - Avalon Waterways

    Sightseeing excursions led by local guides

    Features 64 200-square-foot panoramic suites

    Fare includes wine with dinner, tours and Wi-Fi

    Reviews

    Avalon Expression Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    Avalon Expression joined Avalon Waterways in May 2013.Itineraries focus on the Danube River wit...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    djwoodman
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Avalon Romantic Rhine Review
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    Europeantraveler1
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    First-time river cruisers/long-time ocean cruisers
    Read More
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Amsterdam, Cologne ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Avalon Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Avalon Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Amsterdam
    • Day 2
      Amsterdam
    • Day 3
      Cologne
    • Day 4
      Koblenz
    • Day 5
      Mainz
    • Day 6
      Strasbourg
    • Day 7
      Breisach
    • Day 8
      Basel
    Ship Details

    Avalon Vista - Avalon Waterways

    Features top-deck whirlpool

    Features "open-air" balcony cabins

    Dine al fresco at the boat's bistro

    Reviews

    Avalon Vista Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    The 166-passenger Avalon Vista was jointly christened with the 128-passenger Avalon Visionary i...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Callyfrog
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    Bucket List
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    Geoffcw1
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Romantic Rhine Cruise
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Basel
    Visiting:
    Breisach, Strasbourg ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Viking River Cruises
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Viking River Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Basel
    • Day 2
      Breisach
    • Day 3
      Strasbourg
    • Day 4
      Speyer
    • Day 5
      Koblenz
    • Day 6
      Cologne
    • Day 7
      Kinderdijk
    • Day 8
      Amsterdam
    Ship Details

    Viking Mani - Viking River Cruises

    Most excursions included in cruise price

    Innovative indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace cafe

    Large number of full balcony cabins available

    Reviews

    Viking Mani Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service5.0
    Value3.0

    It's tough not to feel immediately at home onboard Viking Mani, one of Viking Cruises' notable ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Tad2Cruise
    Sail Date Mar 2019
    Amsterdam to Basel for Spring Flowers and River Views
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    Bmadison219
    Sail Date Apr 2019
    Fantastic journey!
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Basel
    Visiting:
    Breisach, Strasbourg ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Avalon Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Avalon Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Basel
    • Day 2
      Breisach
    • Day 3
      Strasbourg
    • Day 4
      Ludwigshafen
    • Day 5
      Rudesheim
    • Day 6
      Cologne
    • Day 7
      Amsterdam
    • Day 8
      Amsterdam
    Ship Details

    Avalon Panorama - Avalon Waterways

    Features 66 200-square-foot panoramic suites

    Luxury touches: live orchids & L'Occitane bath products

    Wine with dinner and Wi-Fi included in fare

    Reviews

    Avalon Panorama Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service4.0
    Value4.0

    As new ships flood the burgeoning river-cruise market, each one-upping the other with better be...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    kentcouple65
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Amsterdam-Basel - Avalon are functional, but AMA are fun!
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    Forest Beach
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    Pleasant Avalon Cruise, But More Expensive Than Its Worth
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Kinderdijk, Cologne ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Viking River Cruises
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Viking River Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Amsterdam
    • Day 2
      Kinderdijk
    • Day 3
      Cologne
    • Day 4
      Koblenz
    • Day 5
      Speyer
    • Day 6
      Strasbourg
    • Day 7
      Breisach
    • Day 8
      Basel
    Ship Details

    Viking Hlin - Viking River Cruises

    Tours and most drinks included in price

    Real balcony cabins; a rarity in river cruising

    Sails Europe's Rhine and Danube

    Reviews

    Viking Hlin Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value3.0

    What first strikes you as you step onboard Viking Hlin, one of Viking's numerous Longship-class...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    kindy38
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    First Viking small riverboat cruise
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    Jeff Q Smith
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    Good, but not quite awesome
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  • 7 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Amsterdam, Cologne ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Avalon Waterways
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
    Hide Cruise Info
    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    7 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Avalon Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Amsterdam
    • Day 2
      Amsterdam
    • Day 3
      Cologne
    • Day 4
      Koblenz
    • Day 5
      Mainz
    • Day 6
      Strasbourg
    • Day 7
      Breisach
    • Day 8
      Basel
    Ship Details

    Avalon Tranquility II - Avalon Waterways

    Spacious 200 square foot standard cabins

    High levels of comfort and personal service

    Panoramic windows are largest in industry

    Reviews

    Avalon Tranquility II Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    Part of the Globus family of brands, Avalon Waterways now has ten vessels in its European ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Poppa Pete
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    Be Careful who you choose!! Great expectations DASHED!!
    Read More
    mikehamm620
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    The soups, oh the soups...
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  • 14 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Kinderdijk, Cologne ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Viking River Cruises
    View Deal
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    14 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Viking River Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Amsterdam
    • Day 2
      Kinderdijk
    • Day 3
      Cologne
    • Day 4
      Koblenz
    • Day 5
      Miltenberg
    • Day 6
      Wurzburg
    • Day 7
      Bamberg
    • Day 8
      Nuremberg
    • Day 9
      Regensburg
    • Day 10
      Passau
    • Day 11
      Emmersdorf
    • Day 12
      Vienna
    • Day 13
      Vienna
    • Day 14
      Budapest
    • Day 15
      Budapest
    Ship Details

    Viking Vili - Viking River Cruises

    Pros

    Daily shore excursions and most drinks included in the fare

    Cons

    No single cabins

    Bottom Line

    An excellent river cruise experience on a stylish ship

    Reviews

    Viking Vili Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining4.0
    Service5.0
    Value4.0

    Viking Vili is one of Viking Cruises' ever-expanding fleet of Longships that ply the rivers of ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Ann EC
    Sail Date Apr 2018
    Trip of a Lifetime!
    Read More
    Jeananaa
    Sail Date Apr 2018
    Anniversary Adventure
    Read More
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  • 4 Night
    Cruise to Cologne

    Leaving:
    Amsterdam
    Visiting:
    Amsterdam, Cologne ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Avalon Waterways
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
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    • Itinerary
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    4 Night Cruise to Cologne Route (Avalon Waterways)
    • D